“Let’s Make Gingerbread Houses”.
For all of you blessed with the gift of Pinterest, this phrase may not stir the unbridled trauma in your family like it does in ours. To clue you in, let me share how the “Year of the Gingerbread House” came to be.
It all happened circa December 2009. I was traveling quite often for my corporate job. In my feeble attempt to earn parent of the year, I purchased a couple of those paint-by-number inspired Gingerbread kits from the store. While I’m far from Martha Stewart, I figured… how hard could this be? The kit was equipped with everything I needed to be a gingerbread house heroine, and it would make for the perfect ‘craftingwiththekids’ hashtag.
Upon showing the kids our family night surprise, their eyes sparkled like it was Christmas morning, and they giggled with excitement. Mom had come out of the gate strong and was winning the parenting race! Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be a sprint. My first obstacle was being partnered with a 6 year old. The fingers of a first grader CLEARLY are not designed to bind unstable gingerbread walls. So instead, I opted to let him ice the walls while I constructed the house. Crisis averted. Or, so I thought.
Then came obstacle number two: the kit only came with piped icing which is no substitute for gorilla glue. In fact, whoever said that using icing to construct a house of dough would be a good idea should be forced to build these casas de infierno for all of eternity.
After three failed attempts at reinforcing the walls, our dome fell again; so, I escaped to find a hot glue gun which went over about as well as a fox in the hen house. The glue helped but I knew that the slightest breeze or even the mention of a nearby mouth breather would bring our cookie crumbling. To make a long story short (and in the spirit of Christmas) by the end of the night, we had a:
12 pack of beer
11 missing candies
10 oops I’m sorrys
9 calls to Grandma
8 glue sticks
7 threats of quitting
6 temper tantrums
4 Disney Band-Aids
3 fallen houses
2 crying kids
and 1 un-sober mom.
In thinking back to this holiday experiment, it reminds me of businesses that tackle their own business strategies. They likely have some of the same thoughts I did. I know how to operate Google, do my trade, work with people. Running a business seems simple enough. How hard can it be? Well, if you’re still trying to tackle the same challenges in 2016 that you had a year ago, here are three quick holiday tips to get you more prepared than I was for our gingerbread project.
- Make a Plan
A recent Research Report by Technology for Marketing found that only 1/3 of businesses have a digital marketing strategy. PEOPLE… there are 3.3 billion internet users at your disposal. Rather than casting a broad net, make a plan to target and engage qualified buyers through precise channels and calls to action. Will you rely on only PPC, Facebook, organic reach? Will it be a combination of these? Even though the internet seems to provide a plethora of information, keep in mind that not everything you read online is accurate. Avoid cobbling together a digital marketing strategy from a patchwork of so-called gurus. Much like the infamous gingerbread house experiment, that’s a recipe for disaster.
- Avoid a one size fits all approach.
No two businesses are alike. Nor do any two businesses have the same goals. A plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills has a much different marketing strategy than the plastic surgeon in Little Rock. Though the industry is the same, different markets, competition, and demographics warrant different plans of attack. As we have learned, just because your gingerbread house comes packaged as a kit, no two houses will ever stand the same.
- Dedicate ample time to tweak your digital marketing campaigns.
Search engine algorithms change. Competitors update their tactics. Market and economic conditions change. Like these variables that drive success, your digital marketing plan should be adjusted to keep up with the latest changes. Constantly analyze your results to see where your strategy may need a little attention. What worked today may not work tomorrow. The digital world and your customers are constantly evolving and, as a business, so must you evolve with it.
My recommendation from the Christmas Gingerbread calamity, if you have no experience with online marketing, be sure to prepare. There are easy to use, step by step software programs to walk you through the process of implementing your own digital marketing campaign. The platform is designed to help small businesses and marketers conquer the labyrinth of digital marketing, SEO, and social media more easily and at scale without the risk of DIY self-sabotage.
Depending on your organization and resources, a DIY plan may not work. That’s unmistakably apparent through two lessons learned via my gingerbread extravaganza. … primarily that gingerbread houses were designed as an instrument of holiday torture likely by Satan himself. But also, if things don’t go as planned, be prepared to call in reinforcements… for Gingerbread Houses, it’s Grandma. For digital marketing services, our experts at JAB WebConsulting can provide done-for-you marketing alternatives. Whichever option you choose, be it DIY or hiring an expert, investigate all viable options that will contribute to a successful strategy. Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. And, when done right should be the best bet you make.